Distance hiked: 8km
Location: Lake Superior Provincial Park, Ontario
Date: July 3, 2020
The name Orphan Lake just sounds depressing. Even more so when you pass signs for Dad Lake, Mom Lake and Baby Lake along the drive to get to the trailhead for the Orphan Lake Trail. But the hike itself is not tragic, but rather all magic. Except for the steep parts.
The Orphan Lake Trail is located near the northern shore of Lake Superior, passes through hardwood and evergreen forests and features three scenic lookouts along the way.
The trailhead is located off Highway 17 just north of Katherine Cove. But before getting started there’s a boot brush to use before and after hiking the trail to remove invasive plant material and seeds.
The first couple of kilometres are gradually uphill, but the path is well-marked with blue markers, wide and relatively gentle.
We reached a junction where the path forms a loop around Orphan Lake. The sign at the junction points left to hike clockwise along the trail and to the first scenic lookout of Orphan Lake. This is where the terrain becomes progressive more rugged.
The path follows along the western shore of Orphan Lake. There is another short detour to get to the other two scenic lookouts of Lake Superior.
From here, it’s a steep and rocky descent to a pebble beach on Lake Superior. The path contains several dicy sections with lots of roots and rocks to hop over, on and around. The pebble beach marks the half-way point of the trail and here the trail overlaps with the Coastal Trail (65km, rated very demanding) for a few hundred metres.
The path branches shortly off again with a sign to indicate that the Coastal Trail continues along the shoreline, while the path for the Orphan Lake Trail weaves back through the forest. The trail follows along the Baldhead River to Orphan Lake. This time we followed the eastern shore of the lake before steadily making our way back up to the junction. From there, it’s a short and easy walk back to the parking lot.
Afterwards we headed to Agawa Bay to go for a swim.
My progress on the 52 Hike Challenge can be found here